North Melbourne’s highly-rated youngster Flynn Perez has put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension.
The deal will see him in the royal blue and white stripes until at least the end of 2022.
“It feels really good,” Perez told North Media.
“Obviously after last year with injuries, I finally got to play towards the end of the year, so I’m really looking forward to a big pre-season and happy to put pen to paper.”
Debuting in Round 16 of 2020, after being selected with pick 35 at the previous year’s draft, Perez said the experience of playing at AFL level would hold him in good stead.
“It gives me heaps of confidence especially from where I’d come from [with injury],” he said.
“I probably didn’t think I’d be able to play those last few games, so to get some footy in towards the end of the year and play some senior footy was really good.”
Perez said he’s focusing on the opportunity facing an emerging group.
“It’s really exciting, I think we’ve got the most under 22’s in the competition now so if we can keep that group together, and we’ve got some older guys that are really experienced like Robbie Tarrant and Todd Goldstein and these types … if we can keep them and continue to learn off them, I think it holds us in great stead and it’s really exciting for the club and the members.
“‘Nobes’ [David Noble] has been awesome, he’s a real calm influence and he knows his stuff. He’s been round the block and he’s pretty much done everything in footy, so his influence on the group is really exciting.”
With the season set to kick off in nine weeks, Perez said his main goal would be to keep his body in check.
“For me it’s probably just about staying on the park and staying fit, that’s probably been my biggest challenge with injuries,” he added.
“If I can stay fit and stay healthy, the rest will take care of itself and I’m just really excited about what we can do this year.”
North list manager Glenn Luff said Perez impressed in his first season and will only get better.
"Coming off his knee injury we could not have asked for any more of Flynn in his first season,” Luff said.
"He displayed a combination of competitiveness and class in his three AFL games. These attributes make Flynn a really important part of our future.
"We're really excited to extend Flynn until the end of 2022. He adds to the long list of young talent who have put pen to paper in the last 12 months."